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Monday, 2 April 2001
Page: 26119

Mrs ELSON (1:47 PM) —Honourable members will know that I have never used this forum to be critical of other members of parliament and that I value the close working relationship I have had with local members of parliament from both sides of politics. That is why it saddens me to bring to the attention of the House the underhanded tactics used last week by the Labor candidate for Forde, Val Smith, together with the new Labor state member for Albert, Margaret Keech. Last week, Ms Smith was featured in the local paper capitalising on a pensioner who claimed to be disgruntled with the CPI index of pensions. Ms Smith failed to tell the public that this lady is actually the state Labor member's mother and an active campaigner for the Labor Party. Now, I have no problem with someone having a go at me about politics—that is part of the job—but they ought to be up front and honest. Either way, the local public deserves better. The people of Forde do not want to see political party game playing and cheap media shots used to try to win a few votes. Further, Ms Smith ought to be ashamed of herself for totally misrepresenting the facts on the indexation of pensions. As someone who works at Centrelink, she should be fully aware that the extra CPI increase was awarded well in advance of the GST impact. There is no clawback. Nothing whatsoever has been taken off pensioners. In fact, pensioners have had the benefit of the increase, which would have been due now, for many months. I am very disappointed that in this case not only have Labor run a scare campaign to frighten the local pensioners but they have done it in a very dishonest and underhanded way. The local residents deserve much better than that.